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Article

Bilingual aphasia: Assessing cross-linguistic asymmetries and bilingual advantage in sentence comprehension deficits

Cortex. 2019. No. 119. P. 195-214.
Arantzeta M., Howard D., Webster J., Laka I., Martinez-Zabaleta M., Bastiaanse R.

People with aphasia frequently have difficulties understanding semantically reversible sentences presented in derived word order. This impairment may be related to the inconsistent processing of morphological information, as well as to difficulties inhibiting the inverse interpretation of the sentence. Studies on bilingual aphasia may contribute to our understanding of these issues by shedding light on i) differences in processing of morphology across languages; ii) enhanced control mechanisms. We studied early Basque- Spanish bilingual speakers with aphasia and monolingual Spanish speakers with aphasia, as well as unimpaired individuals. Using comparable sets of materials across languages, we combined behavioural and eye-tracking methods. Results indicate that i) at the group level, bilingual speakers perform better in Spanish than in Basque, particularly in sentences with Theme-Agent argument order. Individual case analysis shows a pattern of weak dissoci- ation across languages in several participants; ii) bilingual people with aphasia do not outperform monolingual people with aphasia in comprehension accuracy, although gaze data suggests that bilingual speakers exhibit higher inhibition and monitoring abilities.